1 [spahrk]
an ignited or fiery particle such as is thrown off by burning wood or produced by one hard body striking against another.
Also called sparkover. Electricity.
the light produced by a sudden discontinuous discharge of electricity through air or another dielectric.
the discharge itself.
any electric arc of relatively small energy content.
the electric discharge produced by a spark plug in an internal-combustion engine.
anything that activates or stimulates; inspiration or catalyst.
a small amount or trace of something.
a trace of life or vitality.
sparks, (used with a singular verb) Slang. a radio operator on a ship or aircraft.
(usually initial capital letter) a member of Camp Fire, Inc., who is five years of age.
verb (used without object)
to emit or produce sparks.
to issue as or like sparks.
to send forth gleams or flashes.
(of the ignition of an internal-combustion engine) to function correctly in producing sparks.
verb (used with object)
to kindle, animate, or stimulate (interest, activity, spirit, etc.): These bright students have sparked her enthusiasm for teaching. The arrival of the piano player really sparked the party.

before 900; (noun) Middle English; Old English spearca; cognate with Middle Dutch, Middle Low German sparke; (v.) Middle English sparken; cognate with Middle Dutch, Middle Low German sparken

sparkless, adjective
sparklessly, adverb
sparklike, adjective

4. jot, bit, flicker. Unabridged


2 [spahrk]
a gay, elegant, or foppish young man.
a beau, lover, or suitor.
a woman of outstanding beauty, charm, or wit.
verb (used with object)
Informal: Older Use. to woo; court.
verb (used without object)
Informal: Older Use. to engage in courtship; woo.

1565–75; figurative use of spark1, or < Old Norse sparkr quick, lively

sparkish, adjective
sparkishly, adverb
sparkishness, noun
sparklike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
spark1 (spɑːk)
1.  a fiery particle thrown out or left by burning material or caused by the friction of two hard surfaces
2.  a.  a momentary flash of light accompanied by a sharp crackling noise, produced by a sudden electrical discharge through the air or some other insulating medium between two points
 b.  the electrical discharge itself
 c.  (as modifier): a spark gap
3.  anything that serves to animate, kindle, or excite
4.  a trace or hint: she doesn't show a spark of interest
5.  vivacity, enthusiasm, or humour
6.  a small piece of diamond, as used in the cutting of glass
vb (often foll by off)
7.  (intr) to give off sparks
8.  (intr) (of the sparking plug or ignition system of an internal-combustion engine) to produce a spark
9.  to kindle, excite, or animate
[Old English spearca; related to Middle Low German sparke, Middle Dutch spranke, Lettish spirgsti cinders, Latin spargere to strew]

spark2 (spɑːk)
1.  a fashionable or gallant young man
2.  ironic usually (Brit) bright spark a person who appears clever or witty: some bright spark left the papers next to the open window
3.  rare to woo (a person)
[C16 (in the sense: beautiful or witty woman): perhaps of Scandinavian origin; compare Old Norse sparkr vivacious]

Spark (spɑːk)
Dame Muriel (Sarah). 1918--2006, British novelist and writer; her novels include Memento Mori (1959), The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961), The Takeover (1976), A Far Cry from Kensington (1988), Symposium (1990), and The Finishing School (2004)

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. spearca, from P.Gmc. *spark- (cf. M.L.G. sparke, M.Du. spranke, not found in other Gmc. languages). Electrical sense dates from 1748. Slang sense of "a gallant, a beau, a lover" (c.1600) is perhaps a fig. use, but also perhaps from cognate O.N. sparkr "lively." The verb is attested from c.1300;
the slang meaning "stimulate, to trigger" first attested 1912. Spark plug first recorded 1903 (sparking plug is from 1902); fig. sense of "one who initiates or is a driving force in some activity" is from 1941.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
While he was working as a waiter on a train, a picture magazine sparked his
  interest in photography.
The corrections and comments also sparked interest and enjoyment.
But over the years, the rise in cougar tales has sparked an interest in
  wildlife officials and cougar enthusiasts alike.
The movie has already sparked criticism from archaeologists and clergy alike.
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